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For those not familiar with it, the club My Father’s Place (in Roslyn, Long Island) was one of the most influential spots in the country for breaking new acts in the 70’s and 80’s. Dave Mason, Bruce Springsteen, Todd Rundgren, Hall & Oates, The Police, Rick Derringer, The Runaways, Bob Marley, U2 and many, many more, were among the first to play there; beginning their rise to fame and fortune. One other thing to know straight away, is that the music industry was a very, very different beast back then. Record companies then had a department called artist development that sought to brainstorm ideas on how to break a new band. Honestly, that doesn’t even remotely exist anymore and as such, the industry has surfaced grave setbacks. MFP was to the Island, what The Bottom Line was to New York. An opportunity, for a reasonable price, to go see a new or developing artist. Today, that doesn’t even exist anymore. Launched in 1971 and closing in 1987, it was a milestone club.
Since 1987, Michael Epstein (who lorded over the club) wanted to re-open it. The original club closed down for a number of reasons not even worth getting into, although the fact that record companies supported many of those original acts’ appearances and now, would not, was always a big factor.
Last night, at MFP at The Roslyn Hotel, it re-opened. For the record, I worked there during the first run; seeing acts from Springsteen on and left me with great memories. I had spoken to Eppy (Epstein) numerous times over the course of the years and yes, this was his dream, to re-open the club.
I liked Eppy from the get-go, because he truly appreciated the music and the artists playing there. In fact, you could not have a bigger supporter than him; his drive, enthusiasm still is terrifically infectious.
About a year ago, the idea was hatched to re-open the club in the former banquet room at the Roslyn Hotel. I didn’t see it in person, but the initial photos showed there was a lot to be done.
I went last night with a feeling of excitement; would Eppy really be able to make this a go? Clubs today are more-or-less supper clubs; where the money made on the bar and food carry forward towards booking the acts. The acts are more expensive than ever and a myriad of booking agents are in the mix. Last night’s act, Buster Poindexter (David Johansen) was a true opening night marquee name.
The entrance to the club was separate from the hotel; the entrance on the parking level and once inside, the anticipation was palpable. The bar and merch table were brand new and as we entered the actual ballroom, it was quite sumptuously decked out. A soft opening the previous night somewhat prepared everyone for this opening. Once seated we met our server Sean, who finally admitted that this was his first night. The service somewhat sketchy, but that’s pretty much common on first-nighters.
The demo of the crowd was 50+ for sure. I looked around and really didn’t see too many people I recognized. One, Steve Rosenfield, who used to be the official “unofficial” photographer for the club was there and introduced to me to his wife … who he met at the first Poindexter show at MFP eons ago. Of course, back then the admittance was almost nothing, the ticket price for this show was $75.00 per with a cover at the table. My how times have changed!
A much-more subdued Poindexter took the stage and with his four piece band and put on quite an impressive show. I hadn’t seen his act in years and it was much more dialed back; but, just sensational. Adorned in a hot pink jacket and light-blue slacks, he was gracious, funny and in tip-top voice. It’s ironic that when David Jo launched this persona, songs from the great American-songbook were not much in vogue; today, however, from Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga on down, it’s totally reversed.
His four piece been excelled. He was really great. The sound was excellent and the sight-lines perfect.
There really is not a bad seat in the house.
I thought about the evening on the way back to Manhattan and feel that it was a terrific night. Someone from the stage asked how many people had gone to see MFP in its heyday and almost every hand (including mine) was raised.
It was, to quote my friend, a happening. One thing’s for sure, if anyone could pull this off, it’s Eppy.
Interestingly enough. When Eppy took the stage to massive applause, even he seemed somewhat taken aback. I applaud him and his efforts and will support the new MFP all the way.
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